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Member since: Tue Dec 30, 2014, 05:11 PM
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Where do Argentina's candidates stand on the Political Compass?

According to the Political Compass test, PRO/'Let's Change' nominee Mauricio Macri is the candidate of the economic right.

Buenos Aires Herald staff writer Federico Poore, applied the test to each of the six presidential candidates based on his or her stated positions (or approximate ones where no exact stand has been taken) to determine whether each is more socially liberal or authoritarian, and to left or right economically. The test, as conducted by Poore found that the PRO/'Let's Change' candidate, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, proved to be the one that comes closest to the economic right.

The Political Compass test is often used in political science to sort or classify ideologies generally based on two axes. One qualifying between authoritarianism and freedom, the axis that measures social views based on personal freedoms. While the other expresses the ideological distance in terms of left and right, as pertains to economic policy.

This was the result:
|***********Rodríguez Saá|**********************|
|Del Caño****************|**********************|

At: http://www.politicargentina.com/notas/201510/8969-segun-test-macri-es-el-candidato-de-la-derecha-economica.html

It should be noted that Macri has deliberately moderated his campaign rhetoric on a number of issues, and this most likely skewed Poore's results.

In practice, however, his advisers are in favor of everything from ending most export taxes, sharply devaluing the peso (sudden drops in the peso automatically benefit the wealthy, while wrecking the rest of the economy), deregulating finance (Argentina collapsed twice, in '81 and '01, on account of that already), ending most welfare benefits, privatizing social security (while kicking millions of seniors out), privatizing all renationalized firms (the ones that had been run into the ground by profiteers in the late '90s), caving to vulture fund demands for a 1600% payout (Paul Singer is a leading campaign contributor to Macri's PRO), and while they're at it pardoning all 1,000-odd Dirty War criminals convicted or currently on trial.

The "social liberal" rating is equally dubious: Macri is staunchly pro-life and anti-gay rights; has a history of using the Metropolitan Police to wiretap opponents and violently quash protests (even of disabled people); and as mayor has starved public schools, cultural centers, and hospitals of funds while doting on private and religious - particularly Opus Dei-owned - institutions.

Revealed: the 10 countries toughest on tax evaders.

It is becoming harder than ever for expats to avoid paying the tax they owe thanks to international efforts to stop tax evasion. A year ago the OECD coordinated an agreement to automatically swap tax information, with finance ministers from 51 countries signing up to the deal.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said at the time that tax evasion was “not just illegal, it is immoral” and that because a tax evader was robbing their fellow citizens, they should be treated like “a common thief.”

A recent survey by CXC Global, the contractor management specialist, identified the 10 most aggressive countries of the 51 signed up to the OECD agreement in terms of their pursuit of avoiders. The survey, based on information from offices across the CXC network, found that five countries in particular have ramped up their efforts in an attempt to reclaim the billions of pounds lost in revenue every year. The UK did not make the top five list:

1) Spain is taking the lead with investigations into the tax affairs of footballers Lionel Messi, Xabi Alonso, and Javier Mascherano. Even the monarchy is not escaping the gaze of the taxman. Princess Cristina has been stripped of her title as Duchess of Palma de Mallorca as a result of tax-related allegations that have embarrassed the monarchy.

2) Argentina is taking a different tack, and targeting the banks that it believes are not playing fair. For example, HSBC has been charged in Argentina with helping more than 4,000 Argentines to evade around $3 billion in taxes, including via accounts in Switzerland. Despite having been confirmed by recent SwissLeaks reports, HSBC denies any wrongdoing.

3) Germany is taking high-profile action too. Last year the World Cup-winning footballer Uli Hoeness was jailed for three and a half years for tax fraud, and failing to disclose his accounts within the rules of Germany’s voluntary disclosure system. The fraud cost the state more than €27 million. Germany has also taken the lead in the investigation of the Swiss Coutts scandal, as it is under investigation for allegedly helping wealthy clients evade tax, and is also taking a hard line on domestic tax evasion.

4) Brazil – hosting the Olympics next year – has suffered considerably at the hands of tax evaders in the past, said CXC Global, and is now tackling high-profile cases in a bid to show it is toughening its stance. Footballer Neymar has been accused of evading around $16m in taxes between 2011 and 2013, although his parents have denied that he has done anything wrong.

5) Russia – which is suffering from the falling oil price – has also brought in a new "de-offshorisation" disclosure policy. This aims to prevent those with foreign assets, or assets in offshore shelters, from avoiding tax.

At: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/expat-money/11927295/Revealed-the-10-countries-toughest-on-tax-evaders.html

Meanwhile, the neo-fascist party currently controlling our Congress is doing everything it can to make sure the U.S. becomes the tax evasion capital of the world - if you're among the elite, that is.


Colombia and Panama fail to meet deadline in tax evasion dispute

Colombia and Panama have given each other another 60 days to come to agreement on how to combat Colombian tax evasion through Panamanian banks.The two countries failed to meet the negotiation deadline set for the exchange of tax information after one year, extending a further 60 days, in a Colombian bid to fight money laundering and tax evasion on Panamanian soils.

The bilateral negotiations seek to enable the efficient exchange of tax information, if successful Colombia will have access to figures of savings that Colombian tax evaders are hiding in the neighboring country.

Though an exact number is not known, initially estimated to be up to $7 billion in losses for the Colombian government as citizens continue to hide money in Panama and other countries as a means of avoiding taxation. This money, Colombia’s Finance Minister Mauricio reports he believes should be used to help the poor in Colombia, and fund the post-conflict process in the aftermath of the Cuban-sponsored peace talks between Bogotá and FARC rebels.

Tensions flared between the countries last October when Colombia declared Panama a tax haven, over the Central American country’s failure to meet a deadline to sign a bilateral tax information exchange agreement. As a consequence money transfers were set to incur taxes of 33%, instead of the usual 10%.

In response Panamanian officials gave Colombia an ultimatum: if the country was not removed from the list sanctions would be placed on the country, including imposition of VISAs for travel, and tax changes, even threatening the deportation of thousands of Colombians living illegally in the country, giving the Colombian government a week to make a decision.

Panama is the largest foreign investor in Colombia after the United States, and has been one of Latin America’s fastest growing economy since 2008, showing a 6.2% GDP growth last year with 2015 forecasts to remain at this level (double Colombia’s predicted 2.8%).

Much of that growth has been driven by favorable tax structures attracting foreign investment and companies, where exemptions from income, property and import taxes are often granted. These kinds of favorable taxing laws made Panama by far the largest foreign investment market for Colombia, with over 40% of Colombia’s 2013 total going there.

At: http://colombiareports.com/colombia-and-panama-fail-to-meet-deadline-in-tax-evasion-dispute/

Panama's gains have become everybody else's losses.

Yayo Grassi, gay man and Pope's former student, opens up about meeting with Francis in DC.

Yayo Grassi, a gay man and former student of Pope Francis who met with the pope in Washington D.C., said Francis "is not afraid to have a gay friend."

"Me being gay is no different [to the pope] than me having blue eyes," Grassi told ABC News today. "It's not different than me living in Washington. It is part of my life. And the way he accepted my boyfriend, it is a validation of how happy he is that two people of the same sex can be together and happy and miss each other when we are not close to each other."

Grassi brought his boyfriend of 19 years, Iwan Bagus, to the private meeting with Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature (embassy) in Washington, D.C., on September 23.

"When he [Francis] shows up on that corridor and I see him, and we embrace, it was so wonderful," Grassi said of the meeting. "I joked with him, we told each other a couple of jokes, and then I introduced all my friends to him, and they had things to bless and we talked," Grassi said.

"He asked me how my business is doing, what kind of food I was cooking, really things of a friend, that a friend would ask another friend. "We never discussed anything about me or my boyfriend," Grassi said. "We discussed my life, we talked about a lot of other things."

"I think the message that he puts forth is that of understanding, is that of not judging," he said. "I think that we all had one teacher, one mentor that we love very much and we consider that person extraordinary, remarkable. I think that he was he has a superior mind, he has an intelligence that goes beyond the common intelligence of regular people," Grassi said.

When Grassi learned the pope was coming to the U.S., he wrote to him; two weeks before Francis' trip, Grassi received a surprising call.

"He called my cell phone. And I just couldn't believe it," Grassi said. "I thought it was a prank at the beginning. But he called me by the nickname when I was a student so I knew it was him." "He's just so much fun."

Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Director of Holy See Press Office, confirmed Grassi's meeting with the pope in a statement Friday.

At: http://abcnews.go.com/US/yayo-grassi-gay-man-popes-student-opens-meeting/story?id=34223583

And this meeting - unlike the Davis stunt (Vigano's head should roll for this) - was personally approved by Pope Francis as a meeting between two old friends.

Gun violence in America, in 17 maps and charts

By Germán López. Vox.

America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It's one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, and presidential candidates in other nations don't cook bacon with guns.

But America's relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms. These charts and maps show what that violence looks like compared with the rest of the world, why it happens, and why it's such a tough problem to fix.

At: http://www.vox.com/2015/8/24/9183525/gun-violence-statistics

The Gun Violence Chart President Obama Asked For

When President Barack Obama took the podium on Thursday night to speak about the mass shooting at Oregon's Umpqua Community College, he blasted Congress for its inaction on gun safety legislation. "Our thoughts and prayers are not enough," he said, visibly angry.

He also had a request for the media: "Have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who have been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who have been killed by gun violence, and post those side by side on your news reports."

Wish granted, Mr. President. We compared gun deaths with other highly publicized causes of death in the chart below. (Note that about two-thirds of American gun deaths are suicides). The numbers come from 2013 — the most recent year that data is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Breast cancer__________________________41,325
Car crashes___________________________32,719
War in Afghanistan (U.S. deaths)_________127
Terrorism in the U.S.___________________7

At: http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/10/oregon-shooting-obama-gun-violence-chart

The Day after Tomorrow? Cold Atlantic 'blob' puzzles scientists

One of the only places on the globe that is abnormally cold in a year that will likely shatter records as the warmest globally, it's being called the "Atlantic blob." It's a large area in the North Atlantic that is seeing a pronounced cooling trend. The ocean surface is much cooler than normal and in fact record cold in some locations.

Scientists began to notice it developing over the last couple of years, this cooling in the Atlantic is the complete opposite of the warming over in the Pacific. Much of the warming is attributed to El Niño, a natural process where warm water sloshes over the Central Pacific and extends to South America, but scientists are unable to completely explain what has been dubbed the Pacific Blob. This pronounced warming over large areas of the entire Pacific basin has fueled a well above average season for hurricanes and typhoons over the entire Pacific, and could have contributed to everything from the California drought, impacts on the salmon industry, and even tropical sharks seen in waters further north than ever before.

A recent study by top climatologists shows massive ice-loss is occurring over Greenland and is disturbing the normal Atlantic Ocean circulation, called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). You may be familiar with part of this circulation, the Gulf Stream, which brings warm, tropical surface water northward along the East Coast of the U.S. and Western Europe during winter before funneling towards the poles. The other main current in the AMOC is a return flow of deep, cold water that runs southward from the poles towards the tropics. This current has dramatic impacts on our weather globally. The heat and cold driven by the current transfer to the atmosphere and help to drive our weather patterns.

Normally, cold salt water in the North Atlantic sinks, because it is denser, and it is replaced by warm water moving in from the south. It's a similar process that drives the high and low pressure systems and Jetstream that drive our weather. In this case, the study suggests that the massive amounts of freshwater melting into the ocean from Greenland can prevent the sinking of the dense, cold, salty water and alter the AMOC circulation.

Believe it or not, this was the very scenario in the popular 2004 movie "The Day After Tomorrow." In the movie, the global climate changes in a matter of days, causing tornadoes in Los Angeles, deadly hail in Tokyo, and a massive blizzard in New York City.

Fortunately "The Day After Tomorrow" scenario is Hollywood fiction at its best, and not based on sound science. That said, there is cause for concern that the changes we have observed in both the Atlantic and Pacific.

While there is certainly not scientific consensus that either the Pacific or Atlantic blob is related to climate change, there is evidence that is the case. The impacts, while not like the movie, could be bad enough: the loss of the normal ocean circulation could cause drastic shifts in weather patterns, and continued loss of ice in Greenland will lead to the continued rise in sea level, threatening coastal cities around the globe.

At: http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/30/weather/atlantic-cold-blob/index.html

FBI spied on Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez for 24 years, documents show.

The FBI spied on the late Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez for 24 years, according to recently unclassified documents obtained by the Washington Post.

According to the newspaper, the federal police agency began spying on García Márquez after he arrived in New York for a brief stay in 1961 and didn’t stop spying on him until 1985, well after the Colombian writer had been awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature for his most famous novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude.

According to the Post, the released 137 pages of an at least 270-page file left unclear why the FBI began spying on the author. However, in the year the FBI began its spying practices García Márquez helped found the still active press agency, Prensa Latina for Cuba, which had been overtaken by communist dictator Fidel Castro only two years before. Additionally, the writer had supported a Communist-backed coup attempt in Venezuela in 1958 when working in that country as a journalist.

According to one of the first entries in the García Márquez file, dated February 8, 1961, an order that appears to have come straight from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover directed that “in the event he enters the U.S. for any purpose, the Bureau should be promptly advised.”

The spying went so far that a team of FBI agents contacted at least nine of García Márquez’s friends, one of whom informed the federal police agency of the writer and his family’s departure to Mexico, where he lived for the rest of his life. The FBI reportedly continued spying on García Márquez in Mexico, even until after he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in 1982. Until his death in 2014, García Márquez maintained a close friendship with Castro and was a vociferous critic of US foreign policy in the Americas.

Colombia’s most famous author is not the only artist who has been spied on by the FBI: the agency also spied on authors such as Normal Mailer, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck.

At: http://colombiareports.com/fbi-spied-on-nobel-laureate-gabriel-garcia-marquez-for-24-years/

Mary Hoover wasn't as much "anti-communist", as he was anti-talent.

Blue Alert issued by Interpol on Argentina's behalf for former spy Antonio Stiuso

Interpol demanded the “urgent register and circulation” of the blue notice requested by the government of Argentina to locate former counterintelligence chief Antonio “Jaime” Stiuso. Earlier today, the head of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) Oscar Parrilli confirmed the Foreign Ministry will be summoning U.S. Ambassador Noah Mamet following the decision of the Obama administration to refuse to cooperate with Argentina in the search for Stiuso (believed to be in the U.S. since skipping a court subpoena in February).

Stiuso’s testimony as a witness has been sought for multiple cases, including the use of numerous shell companies for money laundering and as a person of interest in the case of prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s death. The Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) had petitioned a local court to request that Interpol issue a Blue Notice to determine his location. The AFI's is the second such request by Argentine authorities, following an earlier petition from the prosecutors at the Attorney General’s Unit for the Investigation into the 1994 AMIA attack (the office headed by Nisman for a decade until his death in January of this year).

Yesterday marks the second consecutive day that Buenos Aires has asked for greater cooperation from the United States on the AMIA probe. During her eighth and final address to the United Nations General Assembly as a head of state on Monday President Cristina Kirchner asked whether Stiuso, and other former members of SI believed to have fled the country, were currently residing on U.S. soil. “Is he here?” she asked rhetorically during her address, referring to Stiuso.

Revelations earlier this year uncovered by Parrilli showed that Stiuso had been in close contact with Nisman in the weeks before the late prosecutor was found dead on a gunshot in his apartment on January 18, just hours before he was due appear before Congress to explain a criminal complaint accusing the President herself of involvement in the alleged cover-up. The complaint, filed four days earlier with all relevant documents, was discredited by Interpol and later thrown out by multiple Argentine courts.

At: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/199911/blue-alert-issued-by-interpol-to-locate-stiusos-whereabouts-released

And: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/199896/gov%E2%80%99t-slams-us-envoy-in-stiuso-row

“Yes, Madame President. He's playing dominoes with Luis Posada Carriles and Miguel Recarey as we speak.”

Who is the U.S. official that offered Argentina a deal with Iran?

Speaking at the General Assembly of the United Nations on Monday, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner welcomed the agreement the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Britain, and France negotiated with Iran in order to stop its nuclear arms development, stating however that "there is a lot of hypocrisy and little interest in the truth." To this effect, she pointed to a 2010 request by a White House official that Argentina collaborate in providing Iran with nuclear fuel for its reactor.

Who was she talking about? White House Coordinator for Arms Control (WMD czar) Gary Samore, who informed Mrs. Kirchner at the time that his country was in dialogue with Tehran and who made the request. In response, the Argentine government asked that the request to grant fuel to Iran be put in writing; but far from happening, Samore disappeared from these talks without further notice.

"I told the Foreign Minister (Héctor Timerman) that if the request were made ​​in writing, we would cooperate - because the goal of nuclear non-proliferation was important." Mrs. Kirchner said. "I think it was the last time Foreign Minster Timerman saw Gary Samore."

"When in 2013 Argentina signed the memorandum of understanding with Iran to unblock the investigation of the 1994 AMIA attack, it seemed to have unleashed the demons. And now that the April 2 agreement between Iran and the U.S. has been signed, one wonders what the reason was to oppose the judicial cooperation agreement between Iran and Argentina. What is the reason? I heard another president speak here today of hypocrisy. There is indeed a lot of hypocrisy, much geopolitical posturing, and little interest in reaching memory, truth, and justice for the families." she said.

At: http://www.politicargentina.com/notas/201509/8612-quien-es-el-funcionario-estadounidense-que-le-ofrecio-a-argentina-un-acuerdo-con-iran.html
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